For this recipe all you need is your favourite store bought soy milk, a dairy-free yogurt starter culture and agar agar to thicken. Be sure to choose a soy milk brand with no additives or preservatives or better still learn how to make your own. You can watch how easy it is to make soy milk from soy beans on Luvele Life TV. We promise, once you start making homemade soy yogurt, you’ll find yourself never wanting the overly sweetened, and far too pricey supermarket varieties again!
While non-dairy milks will culture and produce a sour yogurt-like taste, few methods will naturally tub-set without a thickener. We get a great, spoonable yogurt with agar agar but for alternatives see our 'how to thicken plant-based milk yogurt' post.
Agar is a plant-based, gel-like substance derived from red algae and is a perfect Vegan gelatin substitute. Add a teaspoon of agar to every 4 cups non-dairy milk before heating. Agar agar must be heated to 190⁰F (87⁰C) and held at that temperature for 5 minutes. 1 teaspoon is a guide only. Some agar agar is a fine powder while others are flakes. Flakes may require more - experiment and add more or less on your next batch to get the consistency you enjoy most. A double boiler will keep the milk from scorching during heating.
In traditional dairy milk yogurt, the bacteria in starter culture thrive on the sugar (lactose) content, naturally found in milk. The bacteria populating your soy milk must have something to feed on to allow the culturing process to take place. One teaspoon of sugar or one tablespoon of pasteurised honey is enough to kick start fermentation. Raw honey may have an antibiotic effect and is therefore not suitable for making soy yogurt.
1 litre carton of soy milk (or as much as your yogurt maker can hold)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of powdered agar agar
1 teaspoon of white sugar OR 1 tablespoon of pasteurised honey
1. Pour the soy milk into a large saucepan.
2. Add the sugar/honey and agar agar powder and stir to combine.
3. Gently heat the soy milk to 190⁰F (87⁰C) and hold the temperature for 10 minutes. Do not allow the soy milk to boil. Soy milk expands while it heats, so you can visually gauge when it is about to boil.
4. Remove from the heat and let cool to below 108° F (42° C). Note: Starter culture will only thrive in a narrow temperature range, too cool and it will go dormant, too hot and it will die. So be sure to allow the soy milk to cool before adding the starter culture. Don’t worry if the soy milk has gone cold. (forgetting about it is very easy) It will heat up again in the yogurt maker and activate the starter culture.
5. Add your preferred starter culture and gently whisk it in.
6. The milk is now ready to begin fermentation. Put the lid on the glass yogurt jar and place into your yogurt maker.
7. Switch the yogurt maker on. Set the temperature to 38° C, set the timer to 24-hours.
8. After 24 hours the fermentation is complete.
9. Place the soy yogurt in the fridge for at least 6 hours to cool and set.